Congress on Monday downplayed its defeat in Hisar Lok Sabha by-poll saying it had not won the seat even during the last elections and dismissed the contention that the result showed the effect of Team Anna’s call to people not to vote for its candidate over the Lokpal issue.

Party general secretary in-charge for Haryana B. K. Hariprasad said the defeat in the constituency was “not unexpected” given the fact that in the last parliamentary elections too, Congress had secured third position.

HJC-BJP combine nominee Kuldeep Bishnoi, who is the son of late former State Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, won the by-election defeating his nearest rival Ajay Chautala of Indian National Lok Dal.

Mr. Hariprasad said that the “sympathy factor” following the demise of Bhajan Lal, who represented the constituency and had been the Chief Minister thrice, played a role along with the social equations.

He also recalled that the party had lost from Hisar even in 2009 Lok Sabha elections in which the Congress had won all other parliamentary seats in Haryana.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, who hails from Hisar, had campaigned in the constituency after the civil society members led by Anna Hazare decided to oppose Congress candidate there on the issue of Lokpal.

Mr. Hariprasad, however, dismissed suggestions that there was any “Kejriwal effect” in the Constituency.

The polling was necessitated in Hisar due to the death of sitting MP Bhajan Lal of Haryana Janhit Congress in June.